C H A P T E R     T W O
PICKING YOU UP*

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      At six thirty the next morning Cassandra and Dale were all ready to leave home and go to school and work. Dale drove Cassandra to school every morning so they hopped into Dales BMW and took off.

      “I’ll be picking you up for lunch today.” Dale stated.

      “What?”

      “I’m taking you out to lunch. You have a problem with that?”

      “No.”

      “Okay, and I’ll be picking you up right after school too.” Dale added as he pulled in front of the school.

      “Fine.” Cassandra hastily got out of the car and closed the door. She flung her Jan Sport back pack over her left shoulder and scurried into the mass of teenagers in the quad.

      Dale pulled out of the school yard eyeing Isaac who was off to the side staring at him. When Dale’s car disappeared Isaac wandered over to Cassandra from behind and wrapped his arms around her torso.

      “There you are.” Cassandra turned around and faced Isaac. “Guess what?”

      “Oh no. What?”

      “Dale’s picking me up for lunch and after school.”

      “You know what that means?”

      “No, what?”

      “We gotta skip study hall.” Isaac said with a serious look on his face.

      “Oh, does it?” Cassandra smiled.

      “Uh huh.”

      “Okay.” She squealed.

      “Your so cute.” Isaac pulled her into a hug.

      “I know. Locker?”

      “Locker.” Isaac and Cassandra walked to Cassandra’s locker.

      “Okay, now watch out I’m going to open it all by my little self.” The five foot five and a half inch body of Cassandra stood in front of her locker in Karate position. “Hi ya.” She slammed her fist against the door and stepped back spinning in circles and sharking her hand in pain.

      “My turn.” Isaac swiftly reached over and lifted the latch with out any trouble.

      “Well you suck...Ah, don’t comment on that.”

      Isaac had his mouth open ready for one of his swift remarks but closed it.

      The bell rang as Cassandra pulled out her last book. “Okay, see you at fourth period in the field at ‘our’ tree?” Isaac questioned.

      “Be there or be square.” Cassandra stood on her tip toes kissing Isaac goodbye.

      Right after third period Isaac and Cassandra walked hastily to their secret meeting spot behind a big oak tree. Isaac got their first and sat down leaning against the tree. He closed his eyes imagining what it would be like if Dale wasn’t in the way of his relationship with Cassandra. His eyes flew open as lips were pressed against his but then fell closed again breathing in from his nose as his lips fumbled over Cassandra’s.

      They soon parted and Cassandra sat beside Isaac. “What took you so long?” Isaac asked staring into the corn field that was beyond the school’s field.

      “I had to check my grade in English.”

      “Oh, what are you getting?”

      “An A.”

      “And another straight A year for Miss Cassandra Stone.” Isaac announced as if he were a host at a foot ball game.

      Cassandra playfully hit Isaac’s shoulder with the back of her hand. “Be quiet.”

      “Hey, I didn’t say it was a bad thing. Its good.”

      “Thanks.” Cassandra laid her head on Isaac’s shoulder.

      Isaac wrapped his arm around Cassandra and they stayed in each others arms until the bell rang indicating the end of fourth period. Isaac and Cassandra reluctantly stood up.

      “Same time, same place tomorrow?”

      “Yep.”

      “Okay.”

      “Off to lunch with father dearest. Wish me luck.”

      “Luck.” Isaac watched as Cassandra walked across the field and through the east hall until she disappeared from sight. There had to be some way to see Cassandra without sneaking around and skipping classes every day. Some how...

*****

      Cassandra lingered her way to the front of the school finding her father’s BMW. She took her sweet time walking to the car and seating herself in it.

      “Hi sweetie, what will it be? Sub sandwiches or a restaurant?” Dale politely asked.

       “Subs.” Cassandra was still mad at her father and she let him know it.

       Dale pulled out of ‘Freedom High’s’ parking lot and they silently drove to ‘Sub Marina’. They pulled into a big shopping mart called “Poinsettia Shopping Center’ and drove around to the back where Dale parked the car. Both Cassandra and Dale walked up a ramp to a door that had a big red and white sign above it reading ‘Sub Marina’. Dale opened the door leading Cassandra in and they hopped up to the front of the line. The place was fairly small fitting four tables and three booths. It was very brightly lit with banners and mobiles hanging from the ceiling offering low prices and low fat sandwiches.

       They stood at the counter ordering and watching their subs being made behind a clear glass window. After ordering their food they sat at a booth in the back of the deli.

       “That dinner is tomorrow night. Do you have something formal to wear?”

       “Yes.”

       “Good. We have to be there at six o’clock.”

       “I’ll be ready.”

       The rest of lunch was spent in silence staring out the windows.

       “Okay, I’ll see you after school.” Dale drove Cassandra back to school for her last two classes. Again Isaac was off to the side with a few of his buddies staring at Dale and Cassandra. Cassandra hadn’t seen him and Dale averted his eyes from him.

       “Thank you for lunch.” Cassandra leaned over and kissed her father on the cheek.

       That was the Cassandra Dale knew and was missing. On the ride back to school Cassandra thought about her father. He had always provided her with the necessities of life, he was just getting in the way of her social life.

       “Okay, get to class before your late.” Dale ushered Cassandra out of the car.

       Cassandra stepped out of the car and walked to her next class without any stops to friends or her locker.

*****

       Dale drove out of the parking lot for the third time that day and headed back to his office. He quickly hopped out of his car and swiftly walked to the desk in he office and picked up the phone. He flipped through his card index finding the business card he was looking for and dialed it up.

       “Yes, can I speak to Detective Wallace?”

       “May I ask who’s calling?”

       “This is Mr. Stone. Its important.”

       “Okay, hold on one moment please.”

       “Thank you.”

       Detective Wallace was on of Dale’s friends and would do anything for him.

       “Hey Dale, how’s it going?” Wallace picked up the phone.

       “All right. I have a favor to ask.”

       “Go ahead.”

       “My daughter is dating this boy and I’ve heard some bad things about him. I just wanted you to do a quick check on him.” Dale explained his calling.

       “Sure, anything for you Dale. What’s his full name?”

       “Clarke Isaac Hanson.”

       “Okay, I’ll get back to you on him.”

       “Thank you.”

       “Bye.”

       “Bye.” Dale hung up the phone smiling to himself.

*****

       As soon as Dale was out of view Isaac jogged to catch up with Cassandra. He stepped in front of her walking backwards. “Did you have a nice lunch?”

       “It was all right. It would have been better if I stayed here with you.” Cassandra grabbed onto Isaac’s arm and stopped walking. “You might want to turn around and watch where your walking.”

       Isaac turned around to see a pole staring back at him. He turned back around to face Cassandra. “I knew it was there.”

       “I bet you did.”

       Isaac turned back around stopping beside Cassandra draping his arm around her. The bell already rang so Isaac walked her to he class. “Okay, see ya tomorrow.” Isaac went to leave for his class but was held back by Cassandra smooth hand gripping his own.

       Cassandra had this thing with mens hands. They had to be warn and ruff, with calluses. It meant that he had worked hard and would be a great man to marry because he would always support his family. Isaac fit this mold perfectly.

       Cassandra softly tugged on his hand and Isaac came back wrapping her in one last hug before she entered her physics class.

       At two thirty five the bell rang and everyone scattered out of their last class on there way home and to friends houses.

       “Cassandra!”

       Cassandra turned around to see Lindsay one of her class friends. “Hey Lindsay.” Cassandra slowed down letting Lindsay catch up with her.

       “How come you weren’t here for lunch? Out with Isaac?”

       “Nope, my dad took me out for ‘Sub Marina’. He’s picking me up now so I have to hurry and find him.”

       “Well, how about we have a little girls night out tonight?” Lindsay asked.

       “I’m sorry Lindz, but I’m grounded.”

       “Too bad. Well, see ya tomorrow, hopefully.” Lindsay saw her boyfriend standing by his locker and started walking to him.

       “Bye.”

       Cassandra soon found her father and he drove them both home.

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